American Standards – Anti-Melody (Punk/Hardcore/Metalcore)

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Lets begin with saying American Standards isn’t your ordinary metalcore band. They infuse punk and hardcore elements into their sound and the music is full of emotions and angst. It’s totally understandable as well, the theme of the band is very political and about the society with all the wrongdoings that keeps on happening. In that sense American Standards are really close to a local band of mine Wolves Within who I also like. On this album though the theme is more about separation than anything else. What makes me get into the band even more is their background, and it’s a sad one. The founding guitarist passed of suicide with the vocalists father to cancer soon after. It’s obvious this shit hurts and American Standards can use their music to let go of these emotions letting it take musical form and they know what they’re talking about. Heavy stuff.

I usually don’t listen to this kind of music but when I can really feel the emotions coming out from the sound and hitting me hard, then I know they got something special going on. Tracks like Bartenders Without Wings and Cancer Eater hits me like an arrow straight in the heart. Anti-Melody might not be an album for everyone reading this blog as I usually don’t go for this type of music but hell even I go out of my box at times. This album has connected with me on a level Architects usually does, granted different types of music but emotionally they hit me the same way. Musically I would say American Standards are the closer to Norma Jean and Every Time I Die than anything else but they sure do have their own twist, creating not just a simple copy of those.

Sometimes the music is more than just music and this is one of those experiences for me. Maybe it will be for you too?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmericanStandards
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AmericanStndrds
Label: Independent
For fans of: Norma Jean and Every Time I Die
Favorite song: Bartenders Without Wings
Score: 4/5

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Ne Obliviscaris – Urn (Extreme Progressive Metal)

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I will start by saying Ne Obliviscaris has grown to be one of my favorite bands. I just love their music and it grows on me with each play-through, as a great album should. That being said my expectations of Urn has been through the roof. For those unfamiliar with Ne Obliviscaris I often call them “the Bethoven of metal” or “cultivated metal” as their extreme progressive metal is insanely well played and beautiful. A rather unique sound I would say as the closest I can get is Be’lakor or Persefone but I do find them quite different from Ne Obliviscaris as well. For Urn their sound has evolved even more. It’s beautiful acoustic symphonies and orchestral might goes straight to your soul and leaves it’s mark just to lash out into a flurry of riffs and growls. It’s a thing of beauty you have to experience yourself to even grasp how well made this is.

Everything from the violin, growling, clean singing to the guitar riffs is made for perfection, a symbiosis of metal and classic music unlike any other. It’s rather uncanny what Ne Obliviscaris have managed to create here and I am left here with a hard time finding the words that will give Urn the praise it deserves. Urn is one of the best albums this year and if you do not know about Ne Obliviscaris yet now is the time to get sucked into a whole new world of how metal can be played.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NeObliviscarisBand
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NeObliviscaris3
Label: Season of Mist
For fans of: Persefone and Be’lakor
Favorite song: Libera, Pt. 1 – Saturnine Spheres
Score: 5/5

Golgata – Trälen (Black Metal)

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Småland sure knows their black metal. They have one of the best Swedish festivals in Mörkaste Småland, focusing on black metal. Not only that there have been some top notch bands coming from that area such as Skogen and Netherbird. The latest band spawning from that area is Golgata, playing a more atmospheric approach to black metal rather similar to the type of music Skogen and Dråpsnatt are known for. As a fan of that sound I instantly get caught up in Trälen. The hissing and clean vocals works in great harmony that along with the instrumentals creates an eerie feeling you want from a concept album about the life of a thrall, despair and death.

The raw yet melodic style of black metal together with the Swedish lyrics makes Trälen a very dark album and is in my opinion a sleeper hit. The opener Morgonsolens brand are together with När livet tvekar står död and the title track Trälen the best songs from the EP. A big step in the right direction from Golgata since their first EP Industrial Thoughts last year. The change from English to Swedish together with the raw atmospheric approach is definitely something they should build on with the next release.

Label: Independent
For fans of: Skogen och Dråpsnatt
Favorite song: Morgonsolens brand
Score: 3.5/5

Coffin Creep – Corpse Defiler (Death Metal)

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Yay more classic death metal from Sweden! After basically not a single swedeath review for months I get two in two days, lucky me! Coffin Creep is a rather unknown band, formed in 2014, coming from Sweden but been very active in the underground scene around here, playing a lot of shows showcasing their demos live. Corpse Defiler is the bands debut album which consists of re-recordings of mentioned demos and a brand new song in Corpse Defiler.

It’s raw filthy rotten sound brings back memories from a time when swedeath was at it’s peak. The mixing is usually something I think it really hard to get right at this day and age for my ears. I don’t want it too raw because I think the music has evolved in production enough to make it sound good yet filthy. Coffin Creep manages to get a good mix with the right amount of editing to make this album sound really good to me. As a side note I noticed when reading up about Coffin Creep is that the drummer is the vocalist, cool stuff and I don’t see that too often.

Song by song I think Coffin Creep does a good job on catching the ways of the old making a death metal fanatic like me happy. I am sure Coffin Creep is going to be one of the bands from Sweden that keeps the old corpses still rotting instead of withering away. Seeing this is just their debut album filled with demos it’s interesting to hear what they come up with next. Give these guys an album or two and I am confident you will see them go toe to toe with the bigger Swedish acts such as Entrails or Grave. Obviously some of you will think this is just another death metal album you’ve heard before but when it’s done so well like this and manage to capture the essence of the horrors death metal can do it’s not something you should sleep on. One can never get too much swedeath in their life so I suggest fans of Entrails, Grave, Dismember and the likes gets this pile of defiled corpses into your collection right now.

Label: Unearthed Production
For fans of: Entrails and Grave
Favorite song: Puking Necrophilia
Score: 4/5

Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained (Death Metal)

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A band that’s had it’s ups and downs during their career is definitely Morbid Angel. While being a band that created death metal with Altars of Madness being a masterpiece every metalhead needs it’s obviously hard to review a band that’s had such a big influence. It’s been six years since the horror that was Illud Divinum Insanus and with Kingdoms Disdained I dare say Morbid Angel are back on the right track. It’s not an album that will go to history but it’s a good album that puts Morbid Angel back to where they belong, as a death metal giant. I might have had too low expectations of this album and am just too darn happy they’ve found their way again but hey let a guy be happy they are back! Actually all this album needed to do in my book was not being Illud Divinum Insanus, which says a lot.

In all honesty the only negative parts on Kingdoms Disdained is that the first half is a bit weaker than the second half of the album. However The Pillars Crumbling and onwards almost brings tears to my eyes as it’s been years since I heard Morbid Angel this good. Apart from Declaring New Law (Secret Hall), that song just feels out of place and I would honestly have a better experience as a whole if skipping it. It’s not just the riffs, the vocals or the fact that Morbid Angel pulls off a tight performance. It’s the fact that the song-writing is spot on and is touching issues happening in the world right now. For No Master, From the Hand of Kings and The Fall of Idols will be tracks I spin regulary from now on that’s for sure.

Along with Immolation’s Atonement and Mordbrand’s Wilt (super underrated band in my opinion) Kingdoms Disdained is a must have release this year for death metal fans.

Label: Silver Lining Music
For fans of: Immolation and Deicide
Favorite song: The Fall of Idols
Score: 4/5

Spectrum of Delusion – Esoteric Entity (Technical Death Metal)

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You can never get too much quality techdeath in your life. Spectrum of Delusion knows this and despite this being a debut album coming from a country that’s not really produced a whole lot of techdeath, namely the Netherlands, this band can rock. Spectrum of Delusion has taken it’s time since their formation in 2013 to produce a debut that will be a great starting point, leaving nothing to chance. One of the bands that basically came from nowhere in my eyes but released a killer techdeath album last year was Virvum and I get a lot of the same vibes when listening to Spectrum of Delusion. Both bands took a long time in order to release their debut (granted Virvum took way longer) and both have done really well to release a debut that shakes up the scene, gaining a lot of new fans and leaving people wanting more. Mission accomplished.

Esoteric Entity might not offer anything you haven’t heard before but what they do offer is an insanely tight album with few errors. This has been 36 minutes of joy to listen to through and through. However I do feel like the start was a bit slow compared to the ending of the album. The last three tracks on the album Unborn Tragedy, Mixotrophy and Timelines are really great tracks that shows Spectrum of Delusion on form while the first songs were just good. Which in a year where techdeath has really thrived with top releases from Origin, Decrepit Birth and Archspire just to name some won’t break them into the higher tier of things. At the same time though this is the bands first album, a good one at that, and I am sure this will pave the way for even better releases to come in the future. Spectrum of Delusion is a band I will have an extra eye on to see where they go with their next release. For now I am happy with a tight debut that makes me hope they can be the next big thing within the genre.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SpectrumofDelusion
Label: Independent
For fans of: Virvum and Tethys
Favorite song: Unborn Tragedy
Score: 3.5/5

Skein – Deadweight (Darkened Alternative Metal)

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Lets start with some fact. Skein were formed in 2004 in Tampere, Finland and plays darkened alternative metal (I honestly didn’t know that was a thing but nevermind the genre label). They have three EP’s and one full-length prior the release of Deadweight in their name. While their latest full-length release from 2014 Of Wings Unfolding was a concept album their sophomore album is not. Deadweight is produced by the melancholic master Tuomas Kokko (Ghost Brigade, Swallow the Sun, Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus) and released by Inverse Records.

Melancholic yet beautiful, that’s how I would describe Skein’s emotional sophomore album. As you could probably already tell by the genre and producer behind the band. I get A Perfect Circle featuring Hanging Garden feeling from their music and that in itself is no small feat. Finnish bands are masters when it comes to create an melancholic atmosphere and Skein just adds to that fact. I usually don’t listen to this type of alternative rock but Skein’s mix of clean vocals and screamo, along with some great songwriting, made this an album I certainly won’t see as deadweight in my collection. Lies Mundane, Deadweight along with the two epic closing tracks In Circles and The Unknown are my favorite tracks from the album. Funny thing with the title track Deadweight is that I think vocalist Sami Silvennoinen sounds a lot like Matt Heafy from Trivium on this track with his screamo technique.

I have to say Skein surprised me. I thought this wasn’t going to be my type of music but sometimes you just need to get out of your comfort zone and listen to something new. I am glad I did as Skein has now opened up a whole new genre for me to listen to. Thank you.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/skeinband
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/skeinband
Label: Inverse Records
For fans of: A Perfect Circle and Hanging Garden
Favorite song: In Circles
Score: 4/5